4 Days in Amsterdam

4 Days in Amsterdam- Amsterdam canal houses

Amsterdam was always somewhere that was on my list of places to visit. So, when we (mostly me) decided to plan an autumn city break, Amsterdam was an easy decision.  

When I came back from this trip, I was so excited to write up a post on everything we did while we were over there.

And bam…a month later, here it is. No time like the present, eh?

We had never been to Amsterdam before, so we wanted to see all the major touristy, “just to say you’ve seen it” kind of places. What we ended up with was a trip full of lots of walking, lots of museums, and a whole lot of me stopping in the middle of roads to take photos of pretty buildings.

Amsterdam central station exterior

Amsterdam colourful buildings

Where We Stayed

We were looking for something reasonably priced, reasonably close to the centre of the city and not full of drunken reprobates on stag dos.

We ended up going to Hotel Parklane, a small-ish hotel in a quiet area, near Artis Zoo. It was relatively central, around a mile from most of the major areas of the city, and a stone’s throw away from the nearest tram station. While not the cheapest of hotels, it was fairly reasonably priced compared to others we looked at. It had tricky winding staircases; trying to get up them with a suitcase was…interesting. Despite this, the hotel was clean, quiet, and had friendly staff. Can’t go too wrong. 

Amsterdam blue canal house and autumn tree

The I Amsterdam City Card

I’m about to go on about this with such fervour that it might sound like I’m doing a sponsorship. I promise you, I am not. (Not least because I have no followers). I just really, really like this card.
If you’re in Amsterdam for a few days and, like me, are keen on going to lots of museums and can’t be arsed to walk everywhere, the I Amsterdam Card is a great shout.

For a set price (we paid around £85 each for a 96 hour card), you get free entry to most museums in Amsterdam, and discounts on lots of other attractions. On top of this you get a free canal tour, and free transport all around the city.

We spent the majority of our time in museums, the prices of which all would have added up very quickly. The I Amsterdam card was worth the money for that alone.

I had intended on walking around most of the city to see the sights as much as I could. As it turned out, my poor, sore tootsies and I couldn’t hack it. We ended up travelling by tram pretty much everywhere, and I was very grateful for the easy transport.

If you’re going for a brief trip and want to pack in as much as you can, definitely invest in the I Amsterdam card.

4 Days in Amsterdam- pose on Amsterdam canal bridge

Where We Went

We packed quite a lot into our trip, so I’ll try to keep this condensed and just talk about the highlights.
A must-see for me was definitely the Anne Frank House. Though I’d only read the Diary of Anne Frank once before this, quite a few years ago now, it was still an incredibly sombre and moving experience. If you’re able to go here, definitely do.

Another highlight was definitely the Van Gogh Museum. Despite it being frustratingly busy, even early on a Monday morning when we were there, I’m so glad I went. I’m far from a huge art buff but seeing Van Gogh’s art in person was an amazing experience nonetheless. Being close enough to see brush strokes on canvas is almost surreal. If I suggest one thing about going to the Van Gogh Museum, it’s this; get the audio guide. It’s only about 5 euros, but it gives lots of extra information about Van Gogh; his life, his inspirations, his techniques. In my opinion, it adds a lot to the experience.

We also checked out the Artis Zoo (our hotel was right next to it. We couldn’t not, could we?), and ended up spending a whole afternoon there. It probably seems odd to go all the way to Amsterdam to spend an afternoon at the zoo, which we could easily do in Scotland, but it was a really good zoo! If you’re looking for an easy, fun activity, the Artis Zoo is a good shout.

Amsterdam Museum Outdoor Exterior

A few other highlights included Ons' Lieve Heer op Solder, the Amsterdam museum, and the Sexmuseum. Ons' Lieve Heer op Solder is a hidden church, in the attic of a canal house, from the 17th century, when Catholics were banned from openly worshipping. A good place to see if you’re interested in history. The Amsterdam Museum is also excellent. It’s very extensive and full of information about the history of the city, from its early beginnings all the way to recent history.

The Sexmuseum was great fun; perhaps not for the faint-hearted or prudish, but good for some entertainment. Good if you fancy a giggle, but also quite interesting to look at from a sociological perspective (yes, I’m that person. Cue that clip of Homer Simpson saying ‘NERDDDD’).

PANCAKES Amsterdam Dutch pancake with blueberry and yogurtThe Eats

As a notoriously fussy eater, food certainly wasn’t the driving force behind this trip. There were a few disappointing meals, and a whole lot of eating things we could just as easily find at home. (Hello, Vapiano.)

However, there were a few honourable mentions. PANCAKES appeared to be a big chain (we found numerous branches scattered across the city). Unsurprisingly, they served different varieties of pancakes. We both went for a traditional Dutch pancake with blueberries and yogurt. It was ginormous, and it was amazing.

Another mention has to be given to, what can only be described as, the apple pie of dreams. One does not simply go to Amsterdam and not eat a slice of proper Dutch apple pie.  We originally wanted to go to Winkel 43, which seems to be generally thought of as having the best apple pie in Amsterdam. However, we got there and there was not an empty seat in the house. So, after a bit of investigating (meaning, Googling), we went in search of a place called Café'T Papeneiland. This tiny café on a street corner in Jordaan looked pretty similar to an average old-man’s pub you would find in the UK but, my god, this place had some good apple pie.

If you’re looking for street food, the Albert Cuyp Market is a good shout. We went there quite early in the day, so we weren’t massively hungry. However, we did grab a cone of very tasty fries and shared an absolutely gargantuan-sized Stroopwaffle. It was called the Super-Strooper (which, of course, led to me singing it to the tune of Super Trouper) and it was literally the size of my face. (It was also listed on the menu as being for real men and crazy women; I felt the urge to shove the entire thing in my mouth, while making uncomfortable eye-contact with the vendor, just to prove a point.) If you eat one quintessential Amsterdam thing when there, make it a freshly made Stroopwaffle. Can’t beat it. 

Amsterdam Canal Bridge on Sunny autumn day

All in all, it was an amazing, though pretty exhausting, trip. 4 days was pretty much all we needed to pack in all we wanted to see. I’d love to see the city again, perhaps during springtime to see the tulips; although, next time might be a slightly more relaxed trip!

Have you ever been to Amsterdam? What are some of your favourite places in the city?

4 Days in Amsterdam- Amsterdam Highlights- Pinterest image

3 Ways to Wear Leopard Print

I remember when I was younger, I would look at leopard print clothing and think it was a bit tacky. My mind would always go to Janice from Friends. Now? All I can say is ‘OH. MY. GAWD’. Because I’m in love with leopard print.

And a good thing too, because animal print is everywhere this season. And I do mean EVERYWHERE. You would think the widespread ubiquity of leopard print might put me off. Well, you would be wrong. All it does it make me want to spend all of my money. I’m pretty sure my boyfriend has an intervention planned.

The Leopard Shirt

This beauty was my first foray into the world of animal print clothing. (Although as I say that out loud, and by that I mean type, it doesn’t quite sound correct. If anyone remembers me wearing leopard print clothing before this, please let me know and I can resign myself to the fact that my memory is clearly withering away.)

How to wear leopard print- leopard tie front shirt

I deliberated quite a lot over this shirt; I tried it on initially and was left flashing the world. I miss the days when brands made shirts that didn’t show off half your bra. (Topshop, I’m looking at you.)
Because of the aforementioned flashing situation, I have to do the mildly annoying thing of layering a cami-top underneath.  But despite minor annoyances, I do love this shirt and I wore it rather a lot this summer. Very cool, much casual. (I’m not sure why I’m morphing into doge. Can we tell I haven’t written for this blog in a while?)

How to wear leopard print- leopard tie front shirt

My point is, it was great for casual summer days when I just couldn’t be assed to make an effort. That being said, I still smartened it up a bit with a blazer. Because I can’t not add a blazer.

How to wear leopard print- leopard tie front shirt
Blazer- New Look (old, similar here), Shirt- New Look (sold out, but link is here), Jeans- New Look (old, similar here), Sandals- Primark (old), Bag- H&M 

Side note: I bought this shirt so long ago, and I’ve taken so bloody long to write this post, that it is no longer in stock. And let’s be honest here: as I write this, it’s pouring with rain. I think summer is pretty much done so, unless you’re lucky enough to have a late summer holiday planned, it probably wouldn’t be much use to you now anyway. But the link is there regardless, in case it miraculously comes back in stock.

The Leopard Skirt

This, my friends? This is the leopard skirt of dreams. Dreams, I tell you!

How to wear leopard print- leopard midi skirt

So the story here is as follows: I saw a leopard print skirt from Zara on someone’s Instagram. (I can’t remember exactly who it was but, knowing me, it was probably Hannah Gale.) I wanted the skirt. I eventually managed to order the skirt. It looked absolutely horrendous on me. I returned the skirt. But I was adamant that I wanted a leopard print skirt that actually looked good.

And after that, I went on an epic quest to find the perfect leopard print skirt. I was on a mission from God (he’s into leopard print too, obvs.)

And lo and behold… there was nothing. Despite every single brand jumping on the animal print trend, there were no leopard print midi skirts to be found anywhere on the internet. (At least, none that didn’t cost half my rent. I’m not about that life.)

How to wear leopard print- leopard skirt and blazer

Until, eventually, Urban Outfitters came to the rescue with this gal. And she is a beaut. It’s somewhere in-between a midi and maxi and I’m a little bit obsessed with it.

Again, I’ve semi-dressed it up here with a blazer (quelle surprise) and a little pair of heels, but it looks equally banging dressed down with white trainers and a leather jacket.

How to wear leopard print- leopard midi skirt and lilac blazer
Blazer- Topshop (sold out, but link here), T-shirt- Mango (old), Skirt- Urban Outfitters, Shoes- Topshop (old) Bag- Primark (old)

Coloured Leopard Print

This was one of those dresses that I saw online and immediately thought ‘I need that in my life’.

How to wear leopard print- coloured leopard dress

This is a wrap dress and wrap dresses and I don’t always get on. Every fashion magazine ever has recommended wrap dresses for big busted ladies, and I can personally say that is a dirty, dirty lie. Never have I found a wrap dress that hasn’t pulled apart and flashed the girls within one minute of wear. I’m sad to say, this babe of a dress is no exception to that.

But you know when you fall in love with a dress and you’re adamant that you’re going to make it work? Well, I made it work. I tried to safety pin it, but that didn’t work very well with this kind of material. Alas, I had to settle for layering a cami-top underneath, which makes me die inside a little bit, but it’s that or ‘hello world!  Who wants to know what colour bra I’m wearing today?’

How to wear leopard print- leopard midi dress

The print is pretty loud and I did get some odd looks on the train when I wore this out to dinner one night. But I’m just obsessed with it; it’s a little bit trendy, a little bit boho and it’s super flattering.

This dress wasn’t purchased all that long ago. (At least, I don’t think it was. But time seems to be disappearing into oblivion at the moment, so what do I know? It could be December for all I know. Merry Christmas.) But annoyingly, it went out of stock very quickly. However, I will link something that’s similar, and equally as dreamy.

How to wear leopard print- leopard wrap dress
Dress- Nasty Gal (sold out, similar here), Shoes (old)

And here ends my word-vomit about some of the leopard print items I’ve bought recently. Are you as obsessed with the leopard print trend as I am?

The Outfit I Haven’t Stopped Wearing this Month

Aviator Jacket, Baker Boy Hat, Red Boots

 Outfit Details
Jacket- Tesco;  Jumper- ASOS;  Jeans- ASOS;  Boots- New Look (old, similar here);  Hat- Topshop; Bag- New Look (old, similar here

It’s 2018 folks! And it’s only taken me a month to get a new blog post up. Hey, my first post of last year was in March- I call that progress! I’ve been very silent here, and on social media, this month- a life update is probably in order, but for now let’s settle for a good old-fashioned ramble about clothes.

I treated myself to a few new pieces in the Christmas sales and I basically haven’t taken them off for the whole month of January. Partially, this is because this month’s weather has consisted of snow storms, rain storms and temperatures that make you want to add a second duvet to your bed and wonder how many pairs of Primark’s super-cosy socks you can feasibly wear at one time.  But mostly, it’s because together, they create an awesome combo that makes me feel super-cool. (Although, while I may feel cool, I will never actually be cool. Because I am the person who uses phrases like ‘super-cool’.) 

5 Podcasts You Should Be Listening To

Much like everyone else on the internet, I've become more than slightly obsessed with podcasts. The playlist on my podcast app is ever increasing and I love listening to them when I'm pottering around the house or travelling to work. My taste in podcasts can vary rather a lot, so there's no real theme here beyond 'what I've been enjoying recently'. I've got so many new podcasts queued up to start listening to, and one day I might delve into more genre-specific lists, but for now, here's a brief list of some of the podcasts I've been listening to recently that I think are rather good.